How to Make the Most of Your First Meeting with a Landscape Contractor
It is usual for people to feel overwhelmed during their first meeting with a prospective landscape contractor. Ideas are overflowing! But there’s no reason to worry. The first meeting is just to, well, meet and get to know each other – no need to describe your dream landscape in detail YET.
The contractor will take this opportunity to inspect the property and see what should be done. For you part, this is a chance to get the feels for whether they are a good choice for your project. You can discuss your dreams and plans after you have signed a service contract.
To help you maximize the use of this consultation, ask the following questions:
> Have you worked on a similar project before? An experienced contractor is not all you want. They should be experienced in the specific type of project you have and prove it by presenting work samples.
> How do you bill your clients? This may be a per-hour rate or a fixed sum depending on the scope of the job. Some contractors may also bill you a percentage of your project’s total cost.
> Can you give me client references? But don’t stop at asking for references; talk to them. Ask about the contractor’s sense of professionalism and reliability. Did they come to meetings or returns calls, texts or emails on time? Were the clients’ concerns handled professionally?
Ask the contractor for photos of their previous projects and not only those you can find on their website. In short, a portfolio and review it together with the contractor so you can ask questions as they come to mind. This is a good way to get hints on how they might approach your project.
Setting Your Budget
People sometimes hesitate to discuss costs early on in the project, but being straightforward from the get-go is actually beneficial. This lets them work around your financial limits rather than exceeding your budget, which they probably never even knew until you complained.
Scope of the Project
Do you want them to take care of everything, starting with conceptualization to implementation all the way to clean up, or just parts of the project, such as making a landscape site plan? Obviously, this is one of the biggest factors that can impact your costs, and it’s best to let the contractor in on this from the very beginning.
Finding a Fit
Finally, take advantage of this first meeting to gauge whether there is chemistry between you and the contractor. In most cases, a landscape project will run for weeks at least, so you’re going to have to spend quite some time with them. Working with someone you don’t like can have a negative impact on how satisfied you will be with the results of the project.